Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Adirondack Events Planned For Invasive Species Week

800px-Lythrum_salicaria_-_harilik_kukesabaI like to think I have a pretty nice garden. It’s not too large and not too small. If you were to hear about it from my children you would think I had them weed a farm sized lot. Instead my ½-acre produces the perfect amount of greens and salad stuff, berries, nectar flowers and even a monarch milkweed patch. Weeding is a necessity, but if an invasive plant finds its way onto my property, my family takes an “all hands on deck” approach to getting rid of the perpetrator in a proper fashion.

According to Jane Raffaldi, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) Seasonal Invasive Species Educator, this is the second year that Invasive Species Week has been held statewide, July 12-18, 2015. Though APIPP has year-round programming to educate people on invasive plants and animals, this intensive week-long educational outreach allows people to learn why the proper control of invasive species is a necessity.

“We have planned various events that will occur every day such as visits to the boat launch stewards,” says Raffaldi. “Boat launch stewards will continue all summer, but we are hoping that people will use Invasive Species Week to interact and learn what to look for. One of our boat launch stewards is once again making cookies shaped like invasive species. She coordinated this last year. With each cookie there is a pamphlet and some fun facts to look out for.”

The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District in Lake Pleasant is asking all residents of Hamilton County to submit a “Stop the Spread” poster. Certificates and prizes will be available for winners. The deadline is Friday, July 17th at 4:30 pm.

“One of the biggest events is being offered July 13. We are having a Terrestrial Invasive Plant Management Training in Warrensburg,” says Raffaldi. “Home owners can learn how to manage invasive plants on their property. It is free, open to the public and we encourage as many people as possible to attend. There will be two other training sessions happening this summer.”

APIPP has also partnered with other businesses that will be offering various events throughout the week. The Wild Center is hosting an Invasive Species Challenge, geared toward elementary through high school aged children. The Adirondack Mountain Club is organizing a short hike and Leave No Trace prevention overview. Paul Smith’s VIC is hosting a casual talk about invasive effects on butterflies as well as various “Ask an Expert” events.

Raffaldi encourages people learn the proper way to dispose of invasive plants. It isn’t a matter of simply weeding and putting them in the compost heap. An important fact is to pull the terrestrial plant before it goes to seed. All of the various options are discussed in the invasive plant management training.

“One purple loosestrife plant can produce 2.5-2.7 million seeds per plant annually,” says Raffaldi. “It can succeed in a new environment and crowd out native species.”

We’ve all either inherited someone’s invasive gardening choices, unknowingly planted some ourselves or can easily blame the dog for carrying seeds from various fields and streams. My family is working hard to learn as much about Adirondack invasive plants and keep them out of our yard and yours. I hope you will do the same. Enjoy!

Photo: Purple Loosestrife, which is on the Adirondack invasive species list.

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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